I love studying this stuff and I think it is important to human survival. For me it is easy and natural, but really, for most people it is far less clear. So I have occasionally gotten into discussions by email or forum where someone asked my to explain. It is a great opportunity for me to develop my descriptions and to find out what others have trouble understanding abut the topic. I usually have good luck explaining what they want to know. So here is one of those discussions. Maybe it will clarify things for you as well.
This was one of many very long email correspondences I had with one old circle of friends. I'm removing the first part which was basically just arguing, but towards the end, Paul decided to stick it out and try to figure out what I was saying. He is not a biologist, so it gave me a good opportunity to describe what I am thinking in terms for people that are curious, but far from understanding what I am working towards. I greatly appreciated his patience and help creating this description.
I'm going to edit this some for brevity and ... decorum.
Gads, what a nuisance. I need a short, simple response for you guys, but I don't do short, simple thoughts. This response is whittled down from a much much longer one I wrote to explain the problem. I asked if you folks understand the problem. The first time I thought of this issue, I instantly saw the problem. Apparently, none of you do. Let me explain. This is not a problem in 1000 years, this is a problem now. I am describing human survival for who knows how long, but we have a problem now because of a change we made as we conquered disease, had older parents and smaller families - something very recent, but the consequences are already happening. It's only a question of how fast. In short, the problem is that in the absence of what made us evolve, natural selection, humans are going to very quickly start devolving and it won't be slow. Intelligence evolved last and will be the first to go, followed by health and beauty. I expect a loss of at least 3 or 4 IQ points a generation and that is a statistical average that masks a lot of other very unpleasant stuff that will inevitably destroy civilization within a short time. This is not 1000 years off, this is now. The infertility rate is already at 15%. On a more personal level than statistical, 50% of autism cases are currently attributed to de novo mutations. that number keeps changing upwards as the research progresses. That means for every two cases of autism, one case is caused by de novo mutations. It is called an autism epidemic at this point. The Lancet data I cite says it's about the same rate for mental retardation and for pre-mature babies. I assume there is far more data and I assume it is about the same for other genetic diseases. I can give you hundreds of articles about genetic caused diseases. I can direct you to web sites about genetic caused diseases. If half are caused by de novo mutations, we are in trouble deep and it just gets worse from there. It is now, not later. The data exists by now and just needs analysis to show how fast it will progress. It will be fast. Solving this problem using artificial selection, will also solve many other problems including most that Brent can invent like the synthetic disease one he mentions, something like what I talked about three decades ago - let E coli digest cellulose and humanity shits itself to death. I would think that Brent's ability to only come up problems must be depressing. I like creating solutions. Artificial selection can solve the short term problems I mentioned above as well as many long term problems of human survival. Oh well, biology is just what I do. I guess I shouldn't expect others to do that. M ... If you want the detailed version of this, I can supply. Do you know, there is a logic to words? It is the essence of philosophy. Critical Thinking is making a logical (mathematical, boolean) construct with words. My method of solving problems is to create/write a logical proof of anything. Errors glare out at you like day glo paint. The problem is I can write more complicated proofs than most want to read let alone understand. At the end though, it may actually reveal a simple proof or something useful. That is another part of philosophy, a collection of the results of complicated proofs, useful as shorthand so the proofs don't need to be included or re-evaluated. So in trying to get an answer, I wrote a long ass proof that would painfully stun you, but at the end, I got the short answer I needed. I'll answer the question and add the rest of the verbiage of how I got there. Read it as you choose. There is an introduction to the response, the answer and something about the playing field, some evolutionary / genetic biology that you may not have considered that are the start of the logical proof. It's probably worth reading as basic biology you would rarely hear. You can read the rest if you like. I think it's interesting and contains how I reached my conclusion. I just wish the damn numbers from genetic sequencing would come out instead of me having to make logical guesses. I asked a simple question - do you recognize the radical changes going on and their consequences. No one answered directly, except for Brent's usual silly objections. These discussions are supposed to always be to create understandings. I was suspecting, but I think it is confirmed. I thought you would understand, but clearly you don't. It must leave you baffled. I asked each person, did they get the basic premise stated in the first paragraph of the genetics book or anything I write about genetics. I see that maybe it registers that there have been changes, but no one gets the consequences and Brent illustrates it the best. It explains a lot. I was 18 when I got it. I just automatically did the math. It seems most people just don't automatically do that. Let me do the math for you and simply explain what it means. Brent says I'm trying to solve a problem thousands of years off. No, part of what I'm trying to do is describe how to create a New Ecology that we will be adapted to. That is going to take time and is far off. There is another issue that is not just closer, it's here now and it is going to destroy civilization (and with other factors probably destroy most chances for the future of humanity). It is going to take far less than the 100 years you mentioned. Genes act like compound interest. Those kind of numbers develop really fast. (At the end is a response to your bio-disaster objection... I covered that decades ago. You only seem to have objections Brent.) Unfortunately this is so intuitive to me that it is hard to figure out a simple explanation useful to you. That makes it a good exercise. The problem is the removal of natural selection will lead to an unsustainable genetic load. Nice theoretical statement, but what does it mean? In the absense of natural selection, something the opposite of evolution will occur, it is just a question of how fast... and it will accelerate. My estimate is around 15% of individuals born in each generation will have a dangerous mutation (as well as more less important ones) and has been for a long time. Half of those will not reproduce, so the accumulation rate will be cut in half. The rate would then be something like 7% ++ each generation, but the accumulated lethality rate would also rise, so it wouldn't be linear... except that there will be synergy between the genetic defects. Basically health, beauty and brains will just diminish as we devolve. (Seems like a pretty good aguement for Brent's position of replacing humans with machines, but humans can survive and thrive using artificial selection, my goal.) Trying to figure out how to express this. The average IQ will drop 3 points this generation, 3 more points the next generation, 4 more points the next generation and so on. There will be comparable effects on health and beauty. There, I got it. These are estimates, but some pretty good numbers can be gotten by ongoing genetic sequencing. A misleading part comes from looking at it in terms of families instead of larger statistics. Yes, families are how I think, because I think in moral terms these days and it is parents that will have to make choices. It is parents that will have children with birth defects. The response has to be moral, but even the fact that half of children born might have major birth defects masks the real problem - general decline in fitness. Without using artificial seelction, parents will soon expect half their 25% of their children rto have disabling birth defects, 25% of their children to carry major weaknesses and the rest to have too many bad mutations for dependable health. Analogy, a road system (any complex system of multiple parts that can be compared to a population and its individuals) Each road will function worse and worse for transmitting energy (that's what life is, a conversion of energy). Without maintenance (natural selection), individual roads will work poorly or fail. As individual roads fail and all are weakened, eventually the entire system fails.
Introduction: I asked a simple question - do you recognize the radical changes going on and their consequences. These discussions are supposed to always be to create understandings. I was suspecting, but I think it is confirmed. We all have our preconceptions. I thought you would understand, but clearly you don't. It must leave you baffled. Paul has music in his nature. I am sure there are things in music that he takes for granted that I would likely never learn. (Seemingly true of my brother who is in the music business and knows what he doesn't know that musicians do know. They assume he does though.) Michael is an easier example. He is by nature a visual artist, which could mean many things, but I have known others and I knew his mother. While I think I could learn to make good music, if perhaps not learn music like a musician, I don't think I could learn art the way it is in his nature. I love walking in the house of an artist who can't help but to make it an expression of art. There are many ways to express that. Some do it with clothing. Terry's nature is not so clear. I know he did it the hard way with a huge learned component. Unfortunately this is so intuitive to me that it is hard to figure out a simple explanation useful to you. That makes it a good exercise. The problem is the removal of natural selection will lead to an unsustainable genetic load. Nice theoretical statement, but what does it mean. In the absence of natural selection, something the opposite of evolution will occur, it is just a question of how fast. A few answers are needed: 1. what is the normal rate of unfit genes in the population. 2. how fast is it increasing, 3. What rate of unfit genes is sustainable? Natural Selection is defined as failure to reproduce. Simply - there is no other definition. It may be death at birth or old age, of disease or lightsaber wound, but it is about not reproducing, even by choice. In biology, there tends to be a fine balance between the success and failure (extinction) of a specie, that can be expressed as the energy (resources) required for survival and the energy the specie can acquire. It is usually a surprisingly close balance. In those terms, most species are near extinction, which makes sense in the larger balance of competition. This comes from the modern, math based methods of ecology. Figure that almost all mutations are a bad thing, with a few very rare exceptions... because mutations are random. There are single point mutations and de novo mutations... meaning little and big mutations. It is estimated that the average person has from 2000 to 4000 single point mutations. There are so few numbers available. A single point mutation can be fatal, but usually that is a statistical thing. More often they are a weak point and will cause natural selection only in a special case... especially disease. Technically, single point mutations are de novo mutations, it's just that de novo mutations were recently discovered using genetic sequencing. I knew about them 40 years ago. They are all bad, big mutations are just worse. The effect of single point mutations will be the same as the effect of de novo mutations, but will often take longer and be more subtle so I will focus on bigger de novo mutations, but ultimately they might be more dangerous and so must not be allowed to accumulate. I'm using what numbers I have, which are limited. Since they are estimates, I'll always calculate conservatively. Like I do when making business emails, after the details are completed, I will put an executive summary here and highlight there source in the details. I see I need to, because the details look ugly. Basically that summary is that each generation there will be an accumulation rate of 15% to 20% of unfit genes that should have been removed by natural selection. Of those, say half will be social dependents that consume resources without contributing. No other specie could support that. Most of those will simply not reproduce. That is sort of the good news. The bad news is that those others will reproduce and pass on their broken genes, contributing to the load that is naturally added each generation. I see that I need an analogy, but first I will describe the result without one. I said that in the absense of natural selection, something the opposite of evolution will occur, it is just a question of how fast... and it will accelerate. My estimate is around 15% and has been for a long time. Half of those will not reproduce, so the accumulation rate will be cut in half. The rate would then be something like 7% ++ each generation, but the accumulated lethality rate would also rise, so it wouldn't be linear... except that there will be synergy between the genetic defects. Basically health, beauty and brains will just diminish as we devolve. (Seems like a pretty good aguement for Brent's position of replacing humans with machines, but humans can survive and thrive using artificial selection, my goal.) Trying to figure out how to express this. The average IQ will drop 3 points this generation, 3 more points the next generation, 4 more points the next generation and so on. There will be comparable effects on health and beauty. There, I got it. These are estimates, but some pretty good numbers can be gotten by ongoing genetic sequencing. A misleading part comes from looking at it in terms of families instead of larger statistics. Yes, families are how I think, because I think in moral terms these dys. The response has to be moral, but even the fact that half of children born might have major birth defects masks the real problem. A general decline in fitness. Analogy, a road system (any complex system of multiple parts that can be compared to a population and its individuals) Each road will function worse and worse for transmitting energy (that's what life is, a conversion of energy). Without maintenance (natural selection), individual roads will work poorly or fail
Estimate method 1. Genetic sequencing. This is when I had good numbers and enough people have been genetically sequenced that I know the data exists. Lets work with one of the few numbers I have... The Lancet article. It said that between 33% and 66% of the subjects with mental retardation was due to de novo mutations. Lets call it 40%. I'll be conservative in all estimates. The mental retardation rate is 2% to 3%. Lets call it 2.4% of 40% is 0.96% ... lets call it 1% of mental retardation each generation is due to de novo mutations. That number then applies to all systems... crap, not necessarily, because intelligence is a newer and more complicated system than many. Lets knock it down to .5% per mental and physiological system. How many systems do we multiply it by? You add .5% for each system that can be effected (lots) and multiply that by each generation... which points out a fundamental problem. Just what does "Mental Retardation" mean? It's an IQ of 70 to 75. Ya know, a lot of those aren't going to reproduce. Natural selection is still operating BUT only after a great resource investment. As I said, that is what seems to count. (Too bad this is getting complicated. It's like the first book.) But if natural selection removes the mentally retarded person, even after a large resource requirement, the danger I am concerned with, genetic load is not going to occur. The thing is though that far more often than causing mental retardation, de novo mutations are going to cause more minor "mental impairment" and that is more likely to avoid natural selection.
Estimate method 2. Observation of families Again, you aren't looking for who natural selection gets, youa re looking for an estimate of who it misses that is going to pass on [unfit, broken, defective] genes. In my family of 9, my mother said that 2 children should not have survived due to genetic issues and there is reason to believe that my generation/family was relatively fit. That is close to 25%. I know another family that illustrates it better. 4 children. 2 pretty, really happening healthy girls. 1 healthy happening ... gay boy (leaving him out of evaluation) and 1 boy that was never in the game. No obvious health issues (OK, one, but will not be evaluated). While that again shows a 25% rate, better than playing math games, Ill rely on your knowledge. When we grew up, large families were fairly common. Think of the families you can evaluate. Did you see how there was an observable distribution of fitness? Some of were more fit than the parents and were in the game of life and seemed destined to win - reproduce. Some were clearly less fit and had noticeable weaknesses that meant they were never in the game. Think about it. I would put those at about 25%. Some of them reproduced, some didn't, but what is as important is what you didn't see. The individuals that simply are not in the game are actually just the indicators of the important number. The weaknesses of the other healthy appearing children that would be inherited and accumulate. That is the problem.
Estimate method 3. Extrapolation from normal Natural Selection rates. Remember that half your offspring are more fit and half are less fit. It is actually a bit less than half that are more fit, due to the mutation rate. It is a losing proposition, only maintained by Natural Selection. We call the removal of Natural Selection human progress. How much have we removed it and how much does it matter? In biology, over time, the population number of a specie is pretty constant. In a sense you could say it is constant in all species because it starts at 0 and ends at 0, but that is unhelpful. During the existence of a specie, the average population number changes little. Gads, math games and logic. So replacement rate for any individual is 2. So the normal natural selection rate then is family size - 2. Human family size is probably pretty high, well north of 8. There is naturally a great deal of infant mortality that is normally attributed to malnutrition, but much of that in reality is going to be due to genetic weakness. So you end up with a natural Selection rate of 75%. Attribute 1/2 to luck and 1/2 to genes. That means there is a 32% selection rate due to unfit genes. You have to have that minimum selection rate to avoid a genetic load. In every family, 1 out of 3 children need to not reproduce due to genetic weaknesses. The current rate is nothing like that. As a guess I would say it is not over 15%. That means that something like 1 in 6 children are passing on dangerously unfit genes per generation. Compound interest folks... That adds up real quickly and the rate would diminish generation by generation, but each generation introduces new unfit mutations.
Estimate method 4. Observation of fertility There is already a 15% infertility rate among humans. If you compare that to say the mental retardation issue, that is a failure of a system, but in this case, the reproductive system, an old system, then figure it is 10% per generation. If other systems are deteriorating anything like that... well, look at my analogy in the summary.
From Mike Breeden Aug 20 at 12:22 PM I was going to let this die because I got the idea that you mostly don't see the genetic problem, but since Brent wants to try to make points, I'll reply. ... Also as Michael notes, the email system seems to be losing content as well. This reply is to what was there... Michael, this generation's genetic weakness was last generation's de novo mutation... Does that make sense to you? It becomes a question of where did the genetic cause come from. If it occurred in this generation, it is a de novo mutation. Otherwise, it was a de novo mutation when the mutation occurred. Fourty years ago, I called any broken gene non-integral. You make a point that my terminology is probably more correct. The mutation level is what matters to the individual, not when the mutation happened. De Novo mutations just indicate the rate that mutations are happening in every generation. Really, what matters is the outcome, survival. My point is that that the mutation rate and mutation levels of a species must stay in some balance. Humans have dangerously imbalanced both. Artificial selection will not only allow that balance of the mutation level to be returned to a safe level, but it should also allow it to be reduced. That means a lower rate of heart disease, cancers, mental illness and even autism. It means that a person with those genetic weaknesses need not pass them on to their children. I have to be careful here though because this is not just theoretical, this is personal and I don't feel like stepping on anyone's toes. I don't know, but I get the impression your son is what is often called "high functioning" autistic. You, as a parent are working to give him a normal life. If that is the case, he may have a family. What my work then is about is that the genes he has that might contribute to autism, need not be inherited. That applies to his siblings as well. They may not have autism spectrum, but the most likely carry some of the genes. "Likewise if there is autism anywhere in a family tree, the chances of another child being born autistic go up exponentially." Don't you think that regardless of when or where the genes came from it would be better that the next generation doesn't inherit them? I'm sure Brent would criticize me for working for the next generation because we will all be dead by then, but that's just him. As for Brent. You're weird. You seem obsessed with looking for why humans cannot survive rather than how they might survive. Bad strategy. Personally, that attitude would make me bite myself. Just FYI, in my estimates, I'm expecting a pandemic that will kill a couple few billion people. the WHO is expecting the same thing. It doesn't change anything really. Theoretically, you could make a super disease that would kill everyone. The principles of Biology though mean that it would just be hard to make a disease that would work that way. Also, DARPA and others are making incredible strides in detecting and responding to biological threats. You aren't the only one thinking about this, you just seem to like doomsday scenarios more than most people. They keep finding more and more and more and more and more NSOs and comets. They have found that there are a huge number of free planets that could gravitationally wreck havoc with our solar system. They just released an estimate of the number of black holes in our galaxy. It seems absolutely impossible that life has existed on Earth so long. Maybe that is why you think we must be doomed. Life though has persisted. Maybe that's the problem. You have a very limited knowledge of biology and even good biologists forget how persistent life is. That was the lesson of the thermal vents - life exists where it can and persists when it seems impossible to us. If AI turns out to not be a problem as many people suggest, it doesn't remove the genetic problem. We don't know what a problem AI will be if it is one, but you are sure it is another doomsday scenario. I'll let others work to solve that as I work to solve the genetic problem and others work to solve the problems they understand and can work to solve... Maybe Elon Musk. You can just worry about them if that is all you can do. As for David Baltimore, he sounds like a great geneticist, but mostly interested in gene engineering, not artificial selection... or maybe you don't understand what that is. More likely that I would guess. If you look at his list of publications at https://academictree.org/cellbio/publications.php?pid=13138 Only the one from 2015 - Biotechnology. A prudent path forward for genomic engineering and germline gene modification - might be considered related. Talk about a carpenter and nails. He's a master carpenter that works with gene editing, not artificial selection... Yah, I think you are confused about the entire story. Now as a more obscure point that is probably wasted, one of the larger aspects of my book is this. (I think this is in chapter 7 in the genetics book or near there.) Many people feel disenfranchised from life. The changes that have occurred made adaptation near impossible and they see little future for themselves or their children. The world seems to belong to the beautiful and cognitively gifted. These people have no reason to work for the future, it offers nothing to them. Some may even attack it, such as with the bio-weapons you so worry about. What I am hoping is that an awareness of what I am saying about genetics - that humanity must husband our own genes - will change how people think. They will see their destiny as something in their control. They will see a future because they can husband their genes and their descendants can have great genetic wealth. Not only will that wealth make them harder to kill, but it will make them better able to deal with AI. It will give them reasons to invest in the future of humanity, to protect it. It will reduce the number of people that have reason to make weapons such as you fear. It will also make it so we respond better to disaster... They will happen. The Black Plague traumatized all of Europe. We need to look at disasters not as things that happen to us, but as challenges to overcome and survive. Overcoming this genetic problem will provide many benefits, including the idea that we have control of our destiny and that we must control it. Another way of expressing this same thing is to say that a recognition of the genetic problem we face will help force recognition and resolution of what I think is the biggest moral problem humanity faces, tribalism. That's what all this fussing and fighting about Charlottesville is about. Solving this very personal genetic problem, preserving and husbanding the genetic health of one's family generation by generation, will make people logically realize that racism is hazardous to human survival. Belief follows knowledge. It will take more than a generation, yes, but contrary to your opinion, I think we will have that and it has to start somewhere. That is how we will create a new ecology where humans can survive, both genetically and strategically. Really Brent, you seem to be saying that if a person found out they had the BROKA gene issue that causes a high incidence of cancer, they should wait a few generations to try to deal with it using gene editing instead of using artificial selection that should be available much sooner ... or they shouldn't do anything, because all humans will be dead by then anyway. Not sure if your illogic or defeatism makes me more skeptical of your opinions on genetics. Brent, I can't believe how negative you are. I should be used to it by now, but that active defeatism of yours just goes against my nature. Honestly, you seem like a person that might benefit from a dose of psilocybin. Like I say in my book - "The dangers are great and near, but the potentials are as great as human aspiration". Enjoy, M *** From Michael Aug 20 at 3:15 PM I'll only respond to the autism part, since that's my kettle of fish to fry (or something). Mike, "high-functioning" is a troubled term. If you like, I'm happy to point you to resources that explain why, but suffice it to say it's overly vague and also ableist. That said, my son might be described as "HF" by some because he is very verbal and has strong cognitive abilities as well as some very distinct gifts (e.g., musical ability). On the other hand, he has severe deficits and actually has a diagnosis of "Classic Autism," not Aspergers or PDD-NOS. If the gauge is self-sufficiency or independence, it remains to be seen whether he will achieve either. My best guess based on who he is at eight is that he will always need support, and may in fact, need full support. On the other hand, I'm an optimist and we are doing everything in our power to help him, so maybe he'll have independence we can't imagine. I appreciate your clarifying your point about de novo leading to permanent genetic mutations. What I think you're referring to is epigenetic. At least, that's how it sounds to me. As I understand it, the confirmed science on that is still out. In particular, whether or not a one-time genetic alteration (based on environment, etc.) leads to a permanent genetic record that will be passed down to generations. As an example, some people have said cigarette some could alter someone's DNA; if that person then had kids, that DNA mutation could be passed down. Again, as I understand it, that has not been confirmed and many geneticists are skeptical. But I would like to address the meat of your point. It sounds as though you are asking me whether we should prevent people from entering our gene pool who could pollute it. E.g., if my son ever has the ability to have a family, should he be allowed to, since it's possible he could pass on autism? Of course, you can guess how I feel about that question. Fully admit it's not an area where I can be very unbiased or subjective, bordering as it does on eugenics as well as my own son. I hope beyond hope that he meets someone, falls in love, and if he's capable, has a family of his own. YMMV. I would argue a couple points against your idea, though. First, it assumes we fully understand what effect so-called "less desirable" genes might have on our overall gene pool. My understanding is that evolution is not linear or planned. Accidents happen, and sometimes these "accidents" or mutations lead to advantages. Second, autism is a vast spectrum. It's arguable some or most of our greatest scientific minds have had some form of autism. Temple Grandin is but one modern example in whom we have confirmation of autism, but there are many others. My son has incredible musical talent as well as talents in math. If someday he - Allah willing - invents a new form of music or some incredible mathematical discovery, is the world better off had we been able to edit out his "bad autism genes"? You needn't answer - that's not me being a jerk, it's just I know what your response will be and I'm not sure I'm all that interested in it. You asked the question and I answered. Michael Aug 20 at 4:24 PM *** From Mike No, I needn't reply, but as much as you seem to have misunderstood me, I think I should. I'm answering and certainly not to be a jerk. I know very little about your son or the reality of autism. ... I tend to hear the optimistic stories of people finding their place with it. I have absolutely no knowledge of his future, but I would bet anything you want the best for him. How about for his children or his nieces and nephews? Uhhh, no, I'm not referring to epigenetic, though a random change in an epigenetic sequence (genetic punctuation or controls) is still a mutation that can break functionality. It is a random change in a genetic sequence, a mutation. Both types can cause hereditary diseases. It is known that some single point mutations tend to revert to their original sequence. That is not what I am talking about either. I tend to mention de novo mutations rather than just hereditary genetic conditions, both because they are easier to identify by comparing them to the parent's genes and because there is little question but that they are broken, not just variations of debatable consequence or outcome. Many are fatal before birth. I think you got the next point incorrect as well and that is critical. I do not want to prevent people from entering the gene pool that might pollute it. The whole point is that they can remain in the gene pool (having children is the foundation of morality - survival in the evolutionary sense, mess with that and you endanger everyone), but their children do not need to inherit the genetic weaknesses of the parent. We all have two sets of genes. Retain the unbroken one. Remove the broken genes from the gene pool, not people. That is a critical point or you are just repeating what the Nazis did, something that has been pretty clearly rejected as morally unacceptable. This is all spelled out in that genetics book. Same thing for eugenics. Have children, but have healthy children. More, have children that are healthier and stronger than the parents. That is moral. (Sadly this is half of what I was wondering if you guys understood and now I know the answer is not at all.) "Yes, there are some complexities to the genetic situations, but this is a system made to be directed by natural selection, a very blunt and stupid instrument of control. Humans can do better." Try for a moment to think of something other than autism. Autism is the rare genetic condition where it seems to often just change the focus or balance of a person's intellectual ability, rather than just break it. Asperger's seems to reduce social skills while enhancing intellectual skills. I'm not sure and I don't know if anyone is, but certainly some people believe that autism is a very normal behavior in the sense of human genetic expression. It sounds like some of it is. Autism is a very rare case though. Most mutations just inhibit ability or break functionality, giving nothing else back. "A person's genetics are the result of thousands or millions of years of natural selection, that is premature death, to ensure proper functioning of the gene. Random changes almost always reduce their functionality". Most hereditary problems are more like the BROKA (or BRCA) condition where their disadvantage is quite clear. It is a dominant gene. Women checking their genetic makeup tend to be traumatized when finding they have the same gene that killed their mother or sisters (It leads to cancer in other systems than the breasts as well (ovaries included) and I think prostate in men.). Random genetic changes are very very rarely improvements. Leave out autism and consider just about any other mutation linked to a hereditary physical or mental disease and I suspect you would agree it would be better if the non-broken version of the genetic sequence was inherited by the children. The point is that the individual can still have a family, just the children do not need to inherit genes that cause diseases. I read a few months ago about them finally identifying the genes that contribute to schizophrenia and some other mental disorders. Schizophrenia is up there on my list with cancers. I think depression was part of that group as well. I don't think there is much debate about their nature. Even in the case of mutations like autism, where there might be some possible advantage to it (sickle cell anemia for instance), the point is then to allow the parent to make a choice. The only case where I would restrict the parents choice is that a parent should never choose for a child to inherit a "broken" or defective gene that the parent did not inherit - a de novo mutation. It's too bad that clearly, I have failed to convey even the most basic understanding of what I am talking about with genetics. Well, I figure I just misunderstood what people think about. The mutation rate and the natural selection rate has changed though. That is basic biology and we call it human progress. That is a problem. I just want to have a solution ready when it is needed... and it will be needed. M ************** From Paul On Sunday, August 20, 2017, 4:32:03 PM EDT, Paul wrote: A brief two cents that shows where my confusion comes from, just on this thread. The quote below is also what I see as Mike's point, with none of this being my area of expertise. The way it reads smells of master race, so maybe that needs to be clarified for some of us. What's the difference between making a master race and the suggested artificial selection? The main "timing" disconnect I see between Mike and Brent is that both seem to think that the other's solution only addresses long term problems, but both seem to feel that their own solution is the quicker one. However it's also not clear that they're really trying to solve the same problem. I feel like each is talking past the other. If I got this all wrong, ignore it. I'm just throwing out ideas in hopes of getting people to understand each other, not to start a new or side argument. Your Friend, Paul "Every time I read 'ROFL', I hear Scooby Do trying to say 'waffle'." On 8/20/2017 12:15 PM, Michael wrote: But I would like to address the meat of your point. It sounds as though you are asking me whether we should prevent people from entering our gene pool who could pollute it. E.g., if my son ever has the ability to have a family, should he be allowed to, since it's possible he could pass on autism? ************* From Mike Mike Breeden To: Paul,Michael,Brent Cc:Terry ,Rick ,Cory Aug 20 at 6:01 PM Thank you for your input Paul. It helps create an understanding. "The way it reads smells of master race, so maybe that needs to be clarified for some of us. What's the difference between making a master race and the suggested artificial selection?" The master race may be two things. In history and Hitler's model, a master race was the top of a military-dominated civil society. With the rest of the society (traditionally the priest, scribes, crafters and peasants) under their political control. The original Western society was ruled by priests with scribes, crafters and peasants directed by the priests. It was only after - say 3000 years from the founding of Ur - that the Semetics (herders, warriors are always descended from herders) led by Sargon the Great, conquered Sumeria and created the military dominated civil society that we are most familiar with and that lasted until the end of the Monarchy, say WWI or WWII. The ruling caste was actually different from the warrior caste, but that is another story. That social form ended when the technology developed during the American Civil War (rifled muskets) took away the military advantage of the hereditary warrior caste. The second master race is sort of a mythological thing. Remember, all these social arrangements were assumed to be ordained by God. Hitler included that mythology at the same time that he was trying to recreate the society and polity of Rome - quite the pragmatic military society. So master race can mean a few things in mythology, always including moral superiority and sometimes only that. Today what that means is not clear to me. It is Khan of Star Trek. It is the Dosadi of Frank Herbert. It is the Dorsai. It is the Vor of Bujold. It is Thor of the Avengers. It is SciFi, not Sci. Jung would probably have called it something in the collective subconscious of humanity. I think it is what Brent wants to create with his gene editing and engineering. That is why whenever he mentions it, I ask him what he means, because I am pretty sure it isn't something he can even articulate or he has thought through. Others that are less discriminating would call master races Gods. It is Quill of the Guardians of the Galaxy. A Superior Being not subject to the moral judgment of mere mortals like us. What I want is healthy humans. As my book says... Lemme just copy a bit it for brevity.... Artificial selection is needed to replace the natural selection that has been removed, but it offers a lot more than that. We're going to need to use it to adapt to the new ecology and it will be used for that. If it is used to husband the great wealth that human genetics represents, what does that offer? Evolution is about gene frequency. We could use artificial genetic selection to increase the frequency of "good" genes. Everyone could have health, beauty and brains. Everyone can have the potential for the health, vitality, strength, endurance, agility, coordination, stamina and speed of a natural athlete. Organs that don't fail, heart and lungs that don't weaken and provide circulation to keep all other organs and the mind healthy. We could all have excellent senses such as a finely discriminating sense of touch, vision of our world that did not fade or need correction, hearing that remains acute into old age and a sense of smell that brings us the delights of nature and the taste of our foods. Smell has other potentials as well that few consider. Health is more than a physical thing. It is mental balance, endurance, resilience, flexibility, adaptability and many other things. This is not just the health of youth. This is health that lasts a lifetime. ... Everyone could have great beauty, which would really confuse the whole issue, but I think we can deal with it.... ... This is about Olympic level health perhaps, disorienting beauty maybe and intelligence rarely seen. but all abilities that currently exist, just not so commonly. I think there is reason for us to use a strategy of Democracy, so that rules out the historic master race thing. (The next chapter does also, we are no longer caste oriented the way we were.) I'm not thinking of anything superhuman, just healthy human... which I admit I consider pretty super. (Beauty is a complicated two edge sword, because it is what we respond to as beauty.) Our improved intelligence will not just help us adapt to the more complex world we have created, but also to deal with machines better. It used to be that if a person was healthy and willing to work and struggle some (had moral strength), they could survive. I think in the future, they will need more intelligence though. Not having physical or mental diseases would be pretty super too, but maybe we can reduce the angst. Oh, not sure if you notice, but it makes it clear that racism is a mistake. "The main "timing" disconnect I see between Mike and Brent is that both seem to think that the other's solution only addresses long term problems, but both seem to feel that their own solution is the quicker one. However it's also not clear that they're really trying to solve the same problem. I feel like each is talking past the other." Well, I know Brent is talking past me, but the difference is I say we need to start doing this immediately to compensate for the changes we already have made - older parents, smaller families, vaccines and other medical developments that have increased the mutations and reduced the natural selection. Brent says we shouldn't bother and should wait instead "75 years" (correct me if I got that wrong Brent) until genetic engineering, presumably CRISPR, is developed enough to use. I respond (detailed in the genetics book) that we (1) made the changes already and cannot wait, (2) CRISPR is far more expensive than artificial selection - everyone will need this, not just some elite, (3) using artificial selection we can do all we need to survive and initially adapt to the new ecology using the genes we have, (4) is safer because our existing genes are already vetted. Also, (5) I make a simple, but good point that CRISPR is not going to do the job. It will be like a weeder when a lawn mower is needed. Further, I always ask Brent what genes he would create with CRISPR that we do not have. He never has an answer. Now CRISPR will make some biotech firms some truckloads of money, but not by using it on humans. It will be used on humans to fix genetic errors (sort of has been) and probably will be used to create new genes even, but it cannot replace artificial selection for generation to generation needs of replacing artificial selection and really, it is not needed. We could survive without ever using CRISPR and clearly there are dangers to it. About a month ago, a false positive for untargeted effects was reported. If it was true... or turns out to be true, pretty much forget using CRISPR on humans. "But I would like to address the meat of your point. It sounds as though you are asking me whether we should prevent people from entering our gene pool who could pollute it. E.g., if my son ever has the ability to have a family, should he be allowed to, since it's possible he could pass on autism?" Having children is the essence of morality. Disenfranchising people from having children has been judged morally unacceptable by our society, twice. We fought a big war partly about that. He should definitely be allowed to have a family if he can, but he should be given the ability to not pass on genes that would continue an inherited disease ... We have two sets you know. It might even take more than one generation to get rid of them, but then fitness is judged by the person according to their own moral nature, not by nature and not by other humans of authority. Again, thank you Paul for giving me the opportunity to try to communicate this. M ************* From Paul and Michael Paul Aug 20 at 6:22 PM I can see that saying "master race" was a mistake, but your answer helps me narrow down my question. The missing piece for me is how you can accomplish this: "but he should be given the ability to not pass on genes that would continue an inherited disease" with "artificial selection". Maybe I've entirely missed the most basic part of what you mean by "artificial selection". Not long term, but for the current generation. What does it mean to implement it right now, to the currently living? We can use me as an example. I have no children, so can't be offended by the answer. If I did have a child that had any of the "undesirable" traits/diseases/mutations, what steps would be taken to allow that child to still have offspring in your solution while not passing on the undesirable aspect? Michael I appreciate your clarification regarding having families. Since you addressed that point, I'm wondering why you didn't comment on the two other salient (imo) opinion. First there evolution is not linear and sometimes what looks like a disadvantage (autism) could in fact be an advantage and, second, where we would be if all the great autistic minds from history had never existed? ************* From Mike >>> Paul said: Maybe I've entirely missed the most basic part of what you mean by "artificial selection". Not long term, but for the current generation. What does it mean to implement it right now, to the currently living? >>>We can use me as an example. I have no children, so can't be offended by the answer. If I did have a child that had any of the "undesirable" traits/diseases/mutations, what steps would be taken to allow that child to still have offspring in your solution while not passing on the undesirable aspect? The first level of artificial selection is against "bad" genes. One of your many past groupies invites you to a wedding. There she reveals "that is your son". You go to the bar, come back and look over your son. You go back to the bar, come back and look over his wife. (Let's do an initial genetic analysis, but make it human. Let me assure you, humans always do this and it is something they are evolved to do. I can explain it in detail, but it is about status, something far older than humans. It is the genetic fitness we are evolved to naturally recognize and evaluate.) She's a cutie with beautiful red hair. You talk to him and find out that he's a tech, but he also is in a band... has your musical talent, but his mother's sanity. He was an avid runner, but found out he had a heart murmur and decided to take up golf. They met, because she also plays a musical instrument, but has no interest in tech. She does have a talent as a nurse though, possibly because she has a lot of empathy from the minor episodes of mental illness she has had through life. They decide to have children and have advanced artificial selection technology available. I need to shorten this. All I know about you Paul is your music, so I will make this up mostly out of whole cloth. I, as the genetic technician, would take a sample of her skin and treat it into make stem cells, basically unfertilized eggs. Let's start with 200. Son, we need a "sample" from you. The first step would be to use an optical scanner of the 200 fertilized eggs to look for gross genetic anomalies. Any eggs that showed located, missing, or noticeably broken chromosomes would be rejected. We are down to 160 eggs. The parents are not that young. Some of those would be de novo mutations. The second step would be to separate the remaining eggs into a development media. They would be observed as they developed to the gastrula to a stage where they would start sloughing off cells. Another 30 eggs have been rejected of because they did not develop strongly. Now the genetic sequencing would begin on the genes from the eggs that have been sloughed off. There are three levels of artificial genetic selection. The first level is to look for any "bad" genes. These would include broken genes not caught by optical scanning. Genes that had no apparent match in either parent and seemed broken - de novo. Genes that can currently be identified as leading to genetic-based diseases - multiple sclerosis, BRCA, heart disease, mental disease and about 100 more added each week that can be identified. They would try to identify the genetic sequences responsible for Paul's tendency towards dementia and the genes, apparently from the mother, that led to the son's heart murmur as well as her minor mental illness. Identifiable single point mutations would be recorded as much as possible for later rejection. Most of the eggs found with issues at this level would be considered rejected. 80 more eggs are rejected, leaving 50 healthy zygotes. The second level of artificial genetic selection is to select for the good genes. This means your musical talent Paul, this means her nice hooters. Nature does not guarantee that your children will inherit your good genes or the things that you respect about yourself. The point of this level of artificial genetic selection is to select eggs with the best combination of traits from both parents. She has beauty. You want to retain not as much as possible. He has physical endurance, good muscles, bones, and tendons. You want to retain that. All recognizable genetic foundations for intelligence from both parents will be recorded as much as possible for each zygote. This cuts the egg count down to 20. The third level of selection is hybridization. It turns out why she is a cutie is she has some Asian heritage. This is an opportunity for the children to retain some genetic potentials they might or might not retain. The parents tell me they want to select to retain those traits as much as possible. Since the father does not carry any Asian traits, this generation cannot achieve stable hybridization of those, but that can come in the future. Hybridization within the western genome - backcrossing is maximized. (I can tell you the tribal details if you want.) This cuts the egg count down to 10. I would then tell you that you have a choice. You have selected for health, beauty, and brains as much as you can. Now you have to make a choice of aesthetics. You probably only plan to have between two and four children, so you have to choose from those remaining 10, red haired or blond, blue-eyed or green eyed? The selected zygotes will be brought to term. by implantation or uterine replicator. Obviously, there is a lot more to this but this illustrates the three levels of artificial selection and some of the choices involved. In nature, 50% of the children are going to be more fit than the parents and 50% will be less. Actually, more than 50% will be less fit than the parents. Using this level of artificial genetic selection, all of which the basic knowledge already exists, means that all the children could be more fit than the parents. To me, in a way, I am more concerned with that they are not less fit. While we do need to do some genetic adaptation to survive in the future, it is more important that we do not lose what we have. In less than 10 years, we could easily already start working to remove the danger from the changes we have already made. In 40 years, much of what I've described could be reality. Critically, the cost of this would be manageable and far less than the cost of a problem pregnancy... and far less than CRISPR. *** Michael --I appreciate your clarification regarding having families. Since you addressed that point, I'm wondering why you didn't comment on the two other salient (imo) opinion. First there evolution is not linear and sometimes what looks like a disadvantage (autism) could, in fact, be an advantage and, second, where we would be if all the great autistic minds from history had never existed?-- (1) "Evolution is not linear" that could mean a number of things. Evolution is a change in gene frequency, that is all. How to best answer that? I really don't care if we evolve much, or that is I don't care if we improve a great deal. I am most interested in us being able to adapt to a new ecology where we can survive and develop long-term. That phrase "survive long term" is how nature judges superiority, survival. We will not survive if we have a genetic load of broken genes. We will need some increase in intelligence to adapt to that ecology, which I call civilization as opposed to tribalism. All the rest about everyone having superior health, beauty and brains is gravy. It is not necessary to survival. I do think it is something we can achieve and I think it is a good goal. It has been expressed as a human aspiration, but one rarely thought achievable. I think it is achievable. I think it offers us an opportunity for a form of equality that we never seriously thought of. There is even a moral danger to it and other complexities that I will not go into here. There are other rather amazing potentials that I can think of, including adapting to survival in space or maybe even virtual reality and immortality, but I ain't going there right now. I only work for human survival and that means to the next stable ecology. I'll let them figure out what they want to do then. I can give you endless conjecture, but I avoid it as entertaining, but not very productive. (2)"where we would be if all the great autistic minds from history had never existed" I don't know. Again, autism is a very special case. The usual example of this situation that is given is all the health problems that Beethoven had. Would he have been selected against in this case? What would have been lost? First off we are not talking about history, we can only be talking about the future. I know a little bit about history though and right offhand I can't think of many people that have contributed a lot that had to do their autism. I bet some have and I am sure you can tell me of some, but just looking at how many "geniuses" I can think of that were clearly not autistic, I'm not sure it would've mattered. Now I admit that may be quite wrong, but I'm pretty sure that no one knows right now. Also, it may be like homosexuality. We do not know what evolutionary force causes it. Since they theoretically don't reproduce, you would think it would be strongly selected against, but it still occurs and now we have theories, we don't really know why. I would apply the same reasoning to autism. We do not know. Simple answer would be that it is contra survival. Life is not understood by simple answers. Maybe some people would be given the choice that their fourth child would be highly autistic and not meant to be reproductive, instead offering the potential for great creativity to the society... maybe, maybe, maybe. I have enough trouble explaining the simple situations I can envision.... Why not all female or all male? Why not grow a tail? Extended immaturity to allow longer development? An updated caste system as described in The Mote in God's Eye or The Childe Cycle? I carefully restrict my theory to what can be described now and will seem familiar. I'll go with Ricky's answer. Thank you for your consideration, M *** From Paul I think I get it. To be brief: You create a bunch of "eggs" from stem cells. You fertilize them. You do genetic analysis of the resulting zygotes and look for problems, and eliminate them. There are a small amount remaining, and the parents select one or more to be grown into children. Is that basically it? The technology exists, so it can be started now, is that also right? *** From Mike That Paul, is the plan. Replace natural selection with artificial selection. You can prevent the danger of genetic load that is such a great, near danger. You can remove the randomness of natural selection, increase the "rate" of selection and even be smarter than the blunt instrument of Natural Selection. You incur only minor moral dangers and the details of that are discussed in the book. It results in healthy children, healthy families, and a healthy species, the essence of morality. It also offers the potential for a great deal of genetic adaptation to the requirements of the future and the potentials for achieving many human dreams. It even leads to a belief in humans controlling their own destiny instead of it being completely out of control or controlled by whim or fate. At the same time, just as from strength comes weakness, weakness comes from strength. People with fewer weaknesses need more moral education so that their strengths, the amazing health and vitality that artificial selection offers, does not become a weakness... Sort of like how wealth can destroy a person or family, but that is in the next book. Dagen Wells has done it and that came from a few years ago. Not sure what practice of the technology is just now I mostly move on to the next problem after I verify what is being done. It always pops up again in the literature. Really, in ways, every time in-vitro fertilization is done, a level of artificial selection is used. Any embryos showing a problem are rejected and the fastest growing one is implanted. Right now I think we are in a "CRISPR distraction phase". It is such amazing technology and has such enormous potential (when applied to species other than humans), that I think that is distracting from artificial selection. It is the current hype, but as Brent's expert said, artificial selection is possible now, practical gene engineering is a ways off and I don't think it is the tool for replacing natural selection. My belief is that when the data from cheap genetic sequencing is analyzed and the problem / rate of genetic load is quantified, how fast the genes are deteriorating, then people will learn of the problem. When parents, especially mothers, are told that they can give their children greater genetic health, things will change, many things. I love the idea of super humans, but I am trying to restrict myself to the biology I know for practical reasons. Survival is the ultimate conservatism. Change is dangerous, but we are in a time of change. If we make it to the next ecology we will be safe long enough to figure out what to do next. I want humans to have time to debate what a super human is. I want them to have time for music and art, what the Greeks suggested. I want them to have time for drinking and sex and arguing and fighting and love. I do want them to go into space, but we need to solve the problems we have now, here. We really don't want them in space. We need to get over the tribal behaviors of violence appropriate for a world competing for nature's limited resources. With the cooperation and its potentials in civilization (what I name the new ecology), we don't need to fight. Cooperation to create resources is a better strategy. Sew... Paul and anyone else that went to the effort of following this... what do you think? This is the problem I saw 43 years ago when I first asked: "what is going to happen now that medicine keeps people alive that used to die". I saw only one solution and it led to an understanding of the need for a new ecology. I see an amazing future where humans can survive and develop into what has only been our aspirations in the past. Well, is it a good idea? T'anks, M *****Michael Coincidentally, I was involved in a Facebook back-and-forth yesterday about how Iceland is near the point where no children will be born with Downs Syndrome due to Iceland's advanced screening programs for pregnant women. And I am extremely torn. I know people with Downs. They are incredible. I cannot fathom the idea of mandating their extinction. At the same time, I am sympathetic with the prospective parent who says, "Not me, I'm not up for this challenge.' On the other hand, if you're not willing to have a child with a disability, don't have kids. You don't get to choose. Your perfectly healthy child could smack his head on the side of a pool and now you're taking care of a special needs child for the rest of your / her life. Which is to say, I can't see this objectively. Nor can I see it as black and white, i.e., this is good or bad for society. I can only tell you what my gut says, and my gut says it's morally and ethically wrong to pursue a master race. Also, I do not share your view that survival is the ultimate moral imperative. On a grand scale as you suggest, I could see it leading to all kinds of really bad things. On a small scale, it can lead to someone who says, "Nope, not going to run into that burning building to save people because my survival is paramount." Stef sometimes says to me that our son is a gift, not just for us, but for others. He teaches tolerance, diversity. He teaches us that to be human is to be flawed and imperfect. He teaches us about love and compassion and taking each other in. If you want my real opinion, I think I'd prefer a future run by analytical, non-feeling machines than humans who believe in anti-diversity, in fitness above uniqueness, in perfection above imperfection. *** reply from Mike Michael, understood, but it's not just about you being up to the challenge. Who is going to take care of that child when the parents cannot? What price do others have to pay for their care? How many gifted children currently lose education as a price for taking care of the disabled? That price is huge. There are many other parents facing the same challenge and they don't have the resources you do to take care of a child like yours. There are studies of the consequences to the sisters and brothers of those disabled by the Zika virus. It is not pretty. What master race? That verifies the bias you say you are comfortable with. I say a healthy race, but you put a spin on it and called it "master race". No, I won't acknowledge that term and its negative connotations. I'm glad you make it clear that this is your opinion. Again, you are narrowly focusing on autism or maybe downs. Most people with disabilities know they are disabled and more than anything in the world want health. Health is always considered more important than wealth. Do they get to choose? There are many with disabilities that make it clear they wish they had never been born. My sister, with minor disabilities from spinal bifida, has had a lifetime of pain. Do you get that humanity will revert to feudalism - starvation, war, ignorance, disease - if we do not replace the natural selection we have removed? Then the disabled will mostly die anyway. I understand what is learned from your son, but it is at a cost to him. I would rather teach people about weakness without people having to have disabilities that cost them and others so much of their lives. (My comment to Paul about using VR for teaching those lessons.) Wrong aroo -"Nope, not going to run into that burning building to save people because my survival is paramount." - Red herring. Morality is always more complicated than just individual self-preservation. If you don't think survival is the moral imperative (your genes do) then what is. It is that moral imperative in your genes as well as their moral system that makes people risk their lives to save and protect others. You sound like your brother. Survival is not just about the individual. That's a simple, false argument you used. -who believe in anti-diversity, in fitness above uniqueness, in perfection above imperfection.- Where do you get that? Anti-diversity? I've made it clear I want to husband all the diversity of all the races and peoples of humanity. I see the greatest potential for uniqueness in that, survival too. What is the value of uniqueness without survival? I never mention perfection, ther is no such thing, that is an obvious trap. As for imperfection, study the Japanese concept of Wabi Sabi. Sorry Michael, I made a biological proposition. If you want to divert to a discussion of philosophy and morality with me, that is another, very complicated topic I have worked to understand parallel to the genetics. In the meantime, please don't tell me what my opinions are. You don't know them and I think you are intentionally distorting them. Michael, you say this is your opinion and choice, so I cannot say you are wrong, except that I do believe that survival is the moral imperative. M *** From Paul Aug 21 at 11:42 AM Thank you for bringing the basics of what you have been talking about down to a level that I can understand. I think we could have done it in fewer than a few thousand emails and millions of words. I suspect that it has been a frustration for both of us -- me for not being able to get it and you for having to repeat yourself. Now comes the ethics of who selects and what criteria; will children be sorted out by the government and blah blah blah. They are real questions that will provide push-back to this process. I'll follow along and read. You should have almost a dollar by now with my two cents. Here is a little more. To reach more people, if that is your goal as it often is in books, I think you need to get your thoughts more like the two or three sentences I wrote, to give people an idea of what you are talking about, and then expand on it. This is the first time I have been about to parse all of your words into a (relatively) simple process. I appreciate the story you wrote about my fake kid, but I still had to sort out where the essence of your process was, which is why I needed to ask for final clarification. At the most basic level I didn't need to know about 3 stages of selection, only that there was some type of sorting out process. I'll speculate that part of the difficulty I have in understanding what you write is that you tend to mix the why and the long-term implications with your "what". I like to read a "what", and understand it before I care about the why. After "what", then maybe a "how", so I can find out how possible it is. Once I grasp that, and think that I'm not reading pie-in-the-sky, I'm interested in the why and the ifs -- they are something I can frame in the base concept. The why of artificial selection is a bunch of stuff to skim if I don't know what it is. Thanks again for answering my questions. *** Sorry Paul, my limitation... Only the parent gets to decide. No "disinterested" parties. The only restriction I see is that a parent cannot choose (without a proven good reason) for their child to inherit a broken gene that the parent did not have (de novo mutation). There is almost no excuse or reason for that. Now there needs to be an institution to assist in this task and husband the genetic data. It is a special task, because it is a moral task. What institution is traditionally supposed to husband morality? I'm not going there just now. Maybe an AI will do it in the future. Sorry Paul, my limitation, but it's not simple for a reason... yet. Yes, I should write that, but after I write the hard part, so as to document complicated issues and to avoid subtle mistakes. I think the 3 stages are important to describe, but I will certainly register your point. Different people will need different explanations. I am doing what I can, writing the description that carries the most information. Maybe I will live long enough to write it simpler. The current genetics book is the first stage of simplification from the Transition book. Maybe a science popularizer like Bill Nye will be needed... at least that is what I proposed 40 years ago... What you say is not a surprise to me. Thank you for your patience. If I am to make it more accessible, it will be by a discussion with people like you that need a different explanation than I naturally give. ... You would have liked raising children and teaching them music. The why turns out to be critically important. It is the morality... the stuff that explains why not to try to create a master race or why not to use atomic bombs or why not to blindly make super AIs. Science is a powerful tool. The how it can give you can become dangerous without the why. Medicine is what has led to a great danger. I'll think of what you ahve said as I write Strategy For A New Human Ecology. Again, thanks for your patience and help. M ***From Terry Aug 22 at 12:01 AM Hope Brent enjoys his time away. I came back from Ski's wake to see dozens of emails on this thread. It took me all day and evening to wade through it and thanks should be offered all around for the attempts at lucid explanation. I agree with Paul. And Mikey, somewhat. And on that point Mikey you are correct that you have stepped into a most difficult to defend position but admirably focus on 'best humans' of all races and diversities. Cool. Also, thank you to Michael for remaining of sufficient dermal rigor to withstand what must evoke montrously strong feelings. I too know Others, my neighbors son grew up with my kids, has been 'mainstreamed' forever, has a job and will totally make his way through life, albeit with the exact lifelong care that Mikey mentions. This is a hugely difficult topic. Too many tender flanks on all sides. To agree and expand upon Mikey's view ... I'm the eldest son of the eldest son of the eldest son of the eldest son of an ancient Irish clan All of distinguishable wit and all firstborn males being southpaws And all with substantial mid facial deficiencies and proud jaws which result in dental under-bites so extreme as to near fully impair the ability to eat (my own under-bite was over 12mm before my entirely necessary LeForte Osteotomy surgery 33 years ago) Sooooo, like your other example, 'if' asked would I like my future kids screened so that they were not born with such a mid facial deficiency? You bet. Even post surgery for 30 years I've endured all sorts of issues dues to this lack of mid facial bone structure and learned to stay away from bar fights so I don't get knocked all Daffy Duck like. Now Mikey's proper Q to me would be, would you be willing give away those (perceived) advantageous traits of lefty wits if it gained my kids better jaw structures? Yeah probably because you do whatever you can for your kids health. And then... I've done my kids a tremendous disservice, when we later learn... never trade wit... for anything, never risk wit because the final survival trait is wit... not jaw structure. Eat softer foods but mentally rule the day. Old school tech answer: find a cute smart girl who also has big teeth to go with her big boobs (personal tastes). To Mikey's point that random shit is haphazard at best. But. it's what we had. Do I think all of the traits I seek could be discernible at zygote level? Not a chance, but the science is getting better by the week and it seems a reasonable next step to examine A most excellent conversation has evolved *** From Michael Thanks for sharing, with witty words, your perspective, Terry. I don't wish to suggest that I think this is a simple black and white debate. I see both sides. I just don't have much faith in humans. In some parts of Europe redheads are no more because parents are opting to abort them (or so I've read). People who prefer boys will seek boys, fine at an individual level, but what if 80% of all people choose that? Most cultures see lighter skin as desirable so given the choice might they not opt for a lighter race? I realize Mike isn't talking about choices for vanity but for physical and mental superiority. But how can we ensure that's all parents will select for? I further realize he's talking about gene editing and selction, not abortion, but the same risks apply, that humans being humans will do what humans do, ie, make base or vain decisions. Unless of course the state gets to decide. And we know that's not such a hot idea. Terry, what if your distinctive jaw is somehow connected to your unique wit? At a genetic level? Do we know, or can we ever know, how these things interrelate? Going back to autism. Autism is often marked by extreme logic; an ability to analyze and see patterns where others do not; distinct above average gifts in music and the visual arts. Some argue most scientists and engineers fall somewhere on the spectrum, or at least have a greater than average number of these traits. So there's more than a personal reason I bring up autism. I have often wondered if autism isn't something like the giraffe's neck. I imagine that as the neck evolved as an adaptation to eat leaves higher and higher up the tree, some were born with necks that were too long still. Others may have had issues that were a product of a lengthening neck but not obviously so. Say spinal issues, or jaw issues. But their contribution to the gene pool was still necessary for the ultimate move toward longer necks. What of the cool logic and honesty most autistic people are known for - like Spock who, not surprisingly, many have thought to be TVs first autistic character, and who plenty of people on the spectrum admire, and who has a huge fan base in no small part because of his ability to rise above emotion and loom at things objectively - is the long term human goal. We see how history has been ruined by people ruled by emotion and impulse. You needn't look further than Trump. What if the evolutionary goal that preserves humans is honesty to a fault, objectivity and reason. And what if sometimes that means some people are born now with an overabundance of those as well as other traits in order to get there? Those people are autistic. At the individual level we might see them as disabled. But at an evolutionary level, they are a necessary part of the thread? From a purely pragmatic view, I worry about artificial evolutionary selection when applied at an individual level. I worry it will not and cannot see nature's chaotic path. Michael *** Reply from Mike Hopefully, I am replying to something legible... This email sucks. Yeah, I hope Brent is having a good vacation... These days it can be hard. Terry... Wow, that is a lot of wading. Hopefully, Paul's help made it produce an understanding. I really do want Brent to weigh in as he has always had objections... that I have thought were just for the sake of being objectionable. I have only one comment on your review of it. I think perhaps you misunderstand one thing. --- Now Mikey's proper Q to me would be, would you be willing give away those (perceived) advantageous traits of lefty wits if it gained my kids better jaw structures? Yeah probably because you do whatever you can for your kids health. --- Nope, nope, nopedy nope. The whole point is you do not give away anything you want to keep. Certainly keep your wit and what I see as fortitude. Keep your bad habits, they are what make us fun. Lose the underbite... Even if it is linked as some genes are, that just makes it a little more difficult to lose it and nothing else, but if nature can do it, humans can do it. On the other hand, while I think all lefties are communists, there is really no known deficiencies to them... aside from the many you display (had to). Still, you might say, "can we lose the southpaw in my children so they can use a normal pair of scissors for running". I would reply "OK, but how about we work for ambidextrous instead. Genes are mostly additive. Unless they are broken, instead of getting rid of traits, you are better off adding one. ... At the same time, your underbite might be a good example of an interesting situation. Assuming that it is not the result of a mutation, then to replace it with genes for a more robust jaw structure inherited from your mate is a parental choice. You might think it gives you a longer tongue and decide it is worth keeping. The point is to objectively just remove the broken. As far as unbroken traits, subtractions would be rare, though dental issues seem an have always been my usual example of where the genes may not fit together perfectly and a choice between the two may be necessary. It is though a choice. Mostly it will be about preserving the traits of the parents... ie..---big boobs ... big dicks--- Gads, I just had a vision of parents fighting over who's grandmother had nicer tits and should be inherited. Well, I can always go back to saying it is about survival. Actually that raises a weird, but familiar point about heredity that confuses me. They are our children, but are they our genes? Ambiguous..Still, in twenty generations, many would still have your best traits. That is the point. Your wit, Ski's knack for money. Your best traits still there, with a jaw that can bite through nails. Michael, ---I just don't have much faith in humans. In some parts of Europe redheads are no more because parents are opting to abort them (or so I've read). People who prefer boys will seek boys,--- I'm pretty sure the first is incorrect and the second is a well known cultural problem addressed by many. Neither are related to genetic selection. I read what you wrote and thought "these arguments are not strong, but they do need to be addressed properly". Terry's jaw structure may be linked, but that is a minor issue. I got to your comments about autism and am going to skip over them for the moment because I came to this comment. ---I worry it will not and cannot see nature's chaotic path. --- Whoa! Say what? Nature's path! The one described as "red in tooth and claw"? That one? No Michael, that argument needs being put to pasture and then shot a few times in the head for good measure. One of the worst concepts in biology would be the idea that evolution has a path or destination. nature does not and does not care any. Your desire is absolutely heartless. You keep bringing up autism, which I think is mostly invalid and you ignore the genetic disaster that is upon us. You would trade your biases for extinction? Nope, I must object. You mentioned before the progress in history contributed by the autistic. I couldn't immediately think of any persons really. I figured you would enlighten me, but you bring up Spock? Nope, now I'm pushing back. *** From Terry, two messages Michael, Enjoy the vacation, this thread will obviously get revisited somewhat when both of you McWatters boys get back to your homes. You hit the nail on the head from my view with "Terry, what if your distinctive jaw is somehow connected to your unique wit? At a genetic level? Do we know, or can we ever know, how these things interrelate?" It must be. Say something smartass or provocative enough times that you get your face punched in. Repeatedly. For generations. Don't learn to shut your trap, just grow up with a face that has been punched in for a millenia. That would be interesting to speculate though I'd doubt it. Mikey indicates everything is additive. But what if? Of course Mikey replied a tad more later I'll reply to separately but this was a spot on insight. What if they are related? An even more intense debate might form if we considered exactly your point about autistic children being excellent and math and music, what if.. what if to biologically achieve this 'new ecology' that Mikey discusses, that we should be amplifying certain genomes? Slight tangent or not, imagine that the superior math skills demonstrated were encouraged and young autistic prodigies were lovingly exposed to professor level mathematicians and teaching? Might we not anticipate the window for something much farther fetched to distill when an entire community of autistic adult mathematicians approached a problem? Imagine in order to learn how to guide/converse/utilize/understand AI, that only AI trained autistic humans were capable of living with such a "machine precise" set of causalities. We 'normal' humans see too much gray and cannot envisage that too deep in the machine precise mire. Those with certain skills might help our race grow better faster so as to engage better with machines with the near inevitable Singularity. Now Mikey that last part was not written to piss you off, merely to explain a thought thread to Michael and others in agreement with Michael's point about not all abnormalities being fully disadvantageous. Enjoy you time away * Yeah Mikey, I'll keep it as short as possible since 'some' amount might get reviewed next week with the return of McWatters boys. Michael touched the base I was headed towards with his speculation that perhaps my lefty wit is DUE to my getting my smart ass face beaten in over a millenia. Yes I'd fix the jaws of future progeny under the 'deformity that can be solved' category. Would I ever want my kids to inherit the size of the Breeden clan? Oh hell no. Kid brother Kevin at 6'1" 225lbs is plenty big IMO. Devin is already 6' 2" and 215lbs lean, we keep getting bigger anyways but your clan's size is legend. Your sisters are bigger (and stronger) than me/all of us, you Breedens are all giants... except Tim. Pass. Of course to Michaels earlier point I should NOT be permitted to request "super size me to Breeden size" please. My genes do not carry that sequence. Even with Ski's 6'4" full blood Pollock gene contribution to Devin's size he was never as large as a Breeden. You guys have another entire layer of genetic responsibilities to accommodate. So your issue with being a 'pretty boy' is a good example too. Not so possible. Your clan sorted for 'smart stout giant' for a millenia rather than beauty. Joe seems thin, for the moment, but he's young, there's likely a stout gene lurking waiting to balloon him as soon as he slows down. We all provide gifts to humanity in a perfect world. In a less perfect, less affluent world we get to clot anything that moves, impregnate semi randomly and you get what you get, so don't throw a fit. *** From Paul Mike, My understanding, where you said I basically had it right, was that your process is artificial selection only. Michael's statement makes me think that I still don't quite get it. I thought that you were not talking about "gene editing", only selecting. If you are editing, wouldn't that be (at a basic level, please) similar to what Brent is advocating, and still a ways off in time? Would the "life begins at conception" crowd consider the selection process to be abortion? That would certain be a loud group that would try to stop your solution. Michael's "how can we ensure that's all parents will select for" is similar to my thought. This discussion assumes knowledgeable selectors; what happens when the flat-earthers want to pick only for biggest dick and smallest brain size? If the ethics question is too deep for a short answer, let's defer it. ***Mike's reply Definitely Michael, have a good vacation. In this day and age, we need every break we can get. Paul, you are easiest to answer (I thought). I am talking about artificial selection. Anyone that wants to, can talk about gene editing, but it will not do the job and theoretically is completely unnecessary though I do expect it to be used some eventually... They are working on using it now, but artificial selection will not only be necessary, it will be far cheaper. One day, gene editing may even be used for creating new genes, but that is a whole nother story and if CRISPR does have "untargeted effects", it may not be used at all. The life begins at conception crowd would be upset, but that not only directly contradicts the Bible, more importantly, most people don't believe it. It does not set off moral instincts even in most abortion opponents. Also, more importantly, I forgot something. I was just thinking about women's attitudes from what I have observed, they want what is best for their children. But theoretically, it is more than that. It would be a little hard to explain but socio-biology says women should dive onto artificial selection... far more than men even. If that is true, this will work more powerfully than I have mostly even been thinking. Sure, some won't use it. If their children have families, maybe they will. Maybe the family will die off. That is just normal biology. Humanity will persist. ---Michael's "how can we ensure that's all parents will select for" is similar to my thought. --- Ahhh grasshopper, you ask the right question. The most basic question of all. Back at the beginning. Back when I used to hang with the CSUN Sailing Club some, I was exploring that. "Do humans have the instinct to survive?" If they do, they will make the best decisions they can. My conclusion from some serious testing was that they do have that instinct. It is logical, but I had to test it. Since then I have found more strong evidence of that and one potentially dangerous weakness. I will describe the best strategy I can, based on biology --- and made to be adaptive, variable and extensible. No one knows what the future will bring. Like our genetics, we need to have a great diversity of strategies because regardless of artificial selection, natural selection will be there waiting. Terry ---"Terry, what if your distinctive jaw is somehow connected to your unique wit? At a genetic level? Do we know, or can we ever know, how these things interrelate?"--- Yes, we do know. Primarily it is called "linkage" where traits are linked (close together on a chromosome). That just makes the problem a little more difficult, but not a big deal. Genetic Evolution is controlled by natural selection, a blunt and stupid instrument of control. It is a simple, blind control mechanism. Humans can do far better. It does not matter if they are related or linked. ---help our race grow better--- Since you cannot tell me what that means, I'll ignore it. Take Turing, an unquestioned genius and you do have to take into account he helped the war effort, but -he was not reproductive-. That is the ultimate judge, not human preconceptions. That applies to autism. If the person reproduces, that is the judge of superiority, nothing else. (Heinlein mentioned a similar variation 40 or 50 years ago, society intervenes to make them "survive" for the continuation of their genes, but the meaning is still the same.) You can go into all kinds of complex discussions past that, some of them valid, but I don't have enough electrons at the moment for the arguments. I do describe the patterns, but stuff like that is why the Transition book is mostly unreadable unless you really understand a lot and are really motivated to get its meanings. By the way, the text book case of "not all abnormalities being fully disadvantageous" is sickle cell anemia which can kill you, but can also protect you from malaria. It would not exist if it did not serve a function. That is why I mostly focus on broken genes, but clot, read the book. I'm mostly just repeating it here. ... next... Breeden Clan size... yes, it's rather unusual, but size is only part of it. I understand Mikey better now and even understand why he can scare drunks so quickly and badly. I am made for war mentally as well as physically. Not fighting, that is a social behavior. I am made for war, something different. As far as I know, war is a tribal behavior and will probably not have an advantage in the New Ecology - Civilization. It may well be a liability that can hopefully be compensated for by that we all seem pretty tough and smart. This is part of why I need to hope for genetic diversity. Tim ain't so small and Joe is likely to be his size at least... size 16 feet... but don't be too certain the appearance is so fixed. Just me marrying an Asian would have changed things an awful lot. Appearance is what changes the fastest in evolution. Who knows? It's like my occupation. I work to fill a large need in the biggest area of requirement, business. It is a strategy of survival. There is alot of room for those that want to survive and figure out a way. That is the importance of morality. My mind is always on tits. Enjoy, M **From Paul I'll try wording it a different way. Really I guess the first one is the only one I'd like an answer to; it's what I was trying to ask and I couldn't tell for sure from your answer. 1. Does your method involve any gene editing? 2. Some will consider it abortion. I think you made that one clear. 3. It seems like you answer to Michael's "how can we ensure that's all parents will select for" is similar to my thought. is that you have hope that people will make the right choices based on instincts. I think they are mostly idiots and will base their choices closer to who the most recent winner on American Idol is. Just opinions. ***Reply from Mike Hi Paul. Lets see if I can be a little more clear... >>1. Does your method involve any gene editing? No. It does not exclude it either, but it is unneeded and is excluded from consideration in my framework. >>2. Some will consider it abortion. I think you made that one clear. >>3. It seems like you answer to Michael's "how can we ensure that's all parents will select for" is similar to my thought. is that you have hope that people will make the right choices based on instincts. I think they are mostly idiots and will base their choices closer to who the most recent winner on American Idol is. Just opinions. Let's work on making this clear. First, I don't think it's as bad as you think and if it is, it shouldn't matter. Take the GeneTech, some smart parents and some parents not so smart. Let's see how the conversation goes. I'll mix them to shorten it. GeneTech: I have the results of the fertilization process after genetic sequencing for you. Of the 100 zygotes, we find that 40 have de novo mutations or are unhealthy. The law says you cannot use those, but that leaves 60 to work with. ParentsSmart: Oh... that sounds good. ParentsNotSo: Oh... is that good? GeneTech: Yes, that is good. It leaves a lot of healthy zygotes to choose from. Now 10 of these had the genes heart condition you were concerned about that the father had. Another 10 carried the BRCA gene that was susceptible to cancer. I'm assuming you want to reject those to start with. It still leaves 40 to work with and we didn't see anything in those that seemed unique that wasn't in the more healthy zygotes. Of course we will give you the raw results of the sequencing and you can run them through any personal or institutional analysis systems you want to to use to look for other possibilities we might have missed, but this being an IBM Joseph Smith Version 12 genetic analysis software running on a ZORG industries HAL7000000 quantum computer, we get pretty good results usually. ParentsSmart: Oh... I'm so glad we can lay those worries to rest. The analysis sounds fine. That is why we paid the extra cost for it. ParentsNotSo: Oh... I guess that is good. Aunt Martha had cancer and that sucked. GeneTech: So since the rest are all healthy we need to get an idea of what is important to you for your children. In all cases, we can do a net increase of health by 10%, attractiveness of 12% and intelligence of 16%. Beyond that, there is a differential. winnowing it down to what looks like the best 10 zygotes, it looks like 5 are females and you have to make a choice between another 5% increase in attractiveness or another 6% increase in intelligence. For the boys, you have to make a choice between another 6% increase in athleticism or another 8% increase in intelligence. ParentsSmart: Well, intelligence is What we have always valued about ourselves the most, so let's go with that as much as possible. ParentsNotSo: I want my daughters to be drop dead beautiful and my sons to be sports stars. They are more likely to be rich that way. Hey, why can't my daughters look like Jessica Alba and my sons be as tall as Michael Jordan? GeneTech: Well, neither of you carry the genes for that kind of beauty and Michael Jordon was 8 inches taller than you. A son that tall wouldn't be likely to be able to walk. You can keep accumulating beauty generation by generation or could I interest you in putting off having children for 10 years and taking advantage of the ZORG McWatters CRISPR Gene Editing program, which while more expensive and a bit risky, might well give new genes entirely with potentials you don't have now. ParentsSmart: It sounds good for us to be conservative. We just want a happy family and, hey, I like my genes. ParentsNotSo: Oh, we already put off children once for that reason, but they say they are still working on it. We would like super children though. Maybe the next generation will want them and be able to go that route. Those would be fun grandkids. ---OK, you can see my biases here, but they are to convey understanding. Of course it is far more complicated than this, but I am interested in human survival, so what is important to me is those first 40 zygotes that are rejected. Realistically though, gene editing inevitably carries risk... but so then does life. It becomes a moral question. Each parent has answered that the way they chose. Then moral instincts are subject to natural selection... Now in a way I have answered your question - selecting against bad genes is selecting for good genes. I'm not worried about that part. I think we can take for granted that most parents will select for healthy genes. I don't know though what will be more important in the future. It might be beauty or it might be for physical strength. Yes, intelligence is important, but what kind and how much. No one knows. Really, in the past, disease resistance has generally been the most important thing for long term survival. That and luck... see Teela Brown about that. I have few answers for you Paul. I think all parents will select for healthy children. That is what matters, don't go backwards in evolution. I think parents, especially mothers, are going to be far smarter about this than you would expect - that is what they are evolved for - seriously. I am hoping that my strategy discussion will be good enough to explain why genetic diversity is so essential to survival that you should retain yours in your children instead of trying to copy someone else even if they are some kind of a star. It is about survival and health, not some ideal of winning. We all make the same kind of fertilizer. It's about our descendants and they are not us. ... I hope that was helpful, M ***Paul Yes, you were. Thanks for that. Extra points for Teela. I'm not as concerned as you think, and you lay out a good argument for how the Notsos might be persuaded to make better decisions. *** Michael So everyone does IVF? ***Reply Mike Paul, love Teela... but watch out for her. Michael, Good question. Natural Selection effects everyone, so yes. That is why it has to be economical as well. Natural Selection does not just effect the elite unless you consider access to medicine as being elite. You can't anyway, as we are one species... right now. At the same time, it has to be a choice, so another question is would you use it every generation? No, but the de novo mutations are going to appear each generation. They must not accumulate and they can be damaging every generation. How long is it going to take to recover from just one incompetent President? The better you start out though, the longer you could go without it. That includes single point mutations. The weird thing is and this is not my argument but I have come to accept it is that we are most likely to use artificial wombs. To me, that presents a great danger and goes against my conservative / biological principles, but the argument is pretty good, including that some birth defects occur during birth. There is another part of this. Think of meat. We raise animals and kill them to eat them. We always have, but think about it and it is a bit gruesome. If / when we start making cheap, good tasting synthetic meat, how many generations before the thought of killing animals and eating them will become almost unthinkable? Not long and that poses a great danger because it will make it very hard to go back. Heck, we actually get them nicely packaged and unrecognizable as anything that was once alive. That will be true of artificial selection too. Leaving our genetic nature to chance is going to seem barbaric. Custom is going to dictate that artificial selection is always used. It would be an indication of low status not to use it and that is something women do not tolerate. ... This does get complicated, but life already is more complicated than it looks, see "status", M ***From Terry Mikey, Yeah this part we're going to agree to strongly. Gawd the mere thought that YOU Mikey are providing insights about women's thinking to others is frightful. Fairly accurate, from what little I know of them, but frightful ***Reply Mike Terry, Leaving our genetic nature to chance is going to seem barbaric. Custom is going to dictate that artificial selection is always used. It would be an indication of low status not to use it and that is something women do not tolerate. ... This does get complicated, but life already is more complicated than it looks, see "status", M ***Reply Mike There's the point Terry, if I had the sense to be scared, I'd be paralyzed and never try something this silly. Pardon me, but the detail of this opens up an opportunity to make some other points. Change is a dangerous time. We must change and we must change a lot, but I want to minimize it. Just enough to make it to the New Ecology where we can slow down and adjust more. We have no goal or destination any more than evolution and nature does. Maybe we will select one. Right now, I am voting for what the Ancient Greeks did, the pursuit of beauty and that means far far more than physical beauty. It is a philosophical concept. Perfection might be the stupidest goal. It is also why I push back whenever Brent says we should go all in for gene editing. Besides being impractical, all in for what? Another thing is about race. Racism makes no sense in terms of artificial selection. Human progress has been the coming together of peoples, but there is a reason not to carelessly mix the tribes(a cost), but that cost is removed if you use artificial selection. Racism becomes a bad idea because of that and because your descendants will need that genetic diversity to survive. In the past that has been human progress, not one tribe making progress. For the same reason, we need to get into space, but that is another story. There is the lesson of IOT and Apple. Design counts. Take a door lock or a thermostat. We've had them long enough to become commodities with little differentiation, but some software can change them into a totally differentiated product that is considered far superior. Same with the Apple phone. It wasn't the hardware that made it sell, it was the design and integration. In humans, that is called strategy - moral strategy. You can see how so many things could change what humans are even far more, such as life extension, but the more change that occurs, the more we must stick to the patterns of biological survival. We have to focus on moral strategy so that we do not lose our way in all the possibilities. We must not forget what we are our how to survive. M *** From Terry Paul, Thanks for provoking Mikey to clearer answers. I too care only about a narrow slice of what he's seeking. Mikey, OMG buddy your audacity at even attempting to grasp the universal plethora of causal issues in human breeding in such a broad reaching realm is astounding. My hat's off. Learn more? Sure. Keeping it real and acknowledging that, today, ()in my view I'm agreeing with you) we are doing squat with biology to make our race better (smarter, more telepathic, more durable, more fit longer, slower aging), when we can't even pay attention to the subject of why we should care. It's all so speculative, until it isn't. Which we then return to Brent's central point, making ANY human alterations via smart zygote farming or gene splicing or ?? is going to take far longer to achieve than the big brudda AI looming over shoulders as we speak. Michael, Yup. Like humans are going to ever slow down 'cloting like bunny rabbits'. LOL Right. Too much fun... but to Mikey's point, just maybe some mothers-to-be after narrowly escaping getting knocked up after the bar with Roy the other night, just might decide to to it for real but to get rid of Roy's chin.. for all that Mikey explains. Hmm. What was that you say, something about a snow balls chance in hell? ***Reply from Mike A person has to have a hobby... I just decided to help humanity to survive. Somebody has to. Just how nuts is that? Bwaaa Haaa Haaa! The strategy part will be harder, but I've been sneaking up on it. clot the machines. Select for the human ability to clot better and make the machines clean up after. It's all strategy and will. Question for you all. I asked before. What is the name of human survival instinct? It has a name, it was just stolen and it shows the power of humanity's drive to survive. That is something we must never give the machines or we will have created Cylons. What is that name? M ***Subject: Re: Forked to Transition Q and A from Brent's Buddhism thread From: Brent Date: Sun, August 27, 2017 2:00 pm To: terry Cc: Michael , Paul , Mike Breeden , Rick , Cory Hi. I'm catching up on a lot after a week. Since I cover a lot of ground below, if someone wants to talk about a particular subtopic below, maybe create a new email thread/title regarding that subtopic so we can keep the mass of words under control. If anyone hasn't read the Money's Paw PDF, my answers might be more difficult to understand. Since some may have trouble with large file attachments, please try this link to the PDF: https://www.dropbox.com/s/z2wsnoowexrrrft/The%20Monkey%E2%80%99s%20Button%20by%20Peter%20Scott.pdf?dl=0 In general, very much agree with Mike, on the need for genetic maintenance/improvement. Natural evolution got us to here but it is soooo far from optimum particularly now that we have made it ever easier to pass on genetic issues. I don't think Mike gave totally satisfying answers to all of the social/philosophical issues but I don't think it is possible to give answers that will satisfy everyone. If we never took on a difficult task unless we knew in advance how everything would work out, we'd never advance. When it comes to the problems with humanity, standing still is not an option, in my opinion. However in evolution, one must stay ahead of changes in one's environment. With the rapid changes in human societies, our way of living, the abilities for a single or handful of people to wipe out billions, if not all people, with a new competitor, e.g. AI, I think artificial selection will be too little, way too late. Before skipping to the next paragraph, please mull this over for a minute. The speed of our evolution has to be better/faster than our competitors and the environment, or we don't survive or at a minimum we don't dominate. While Mike and I might disagree as to how soon AI will pass us, I think virtually all of us agree that when it passes us, having boosted the average human's IQ from 100 to say 110 (via artificial selection or even rudimentary gene editing) will make no difference. It will be a least a few generations before the artificial selection approach could possibly have much effect on humanity overall and by then gene editing will have matured, i.e. better, faster and cheaper than it is now. Having said that, I have real doubts that gene editing can even help much but it has far more of a chance than artificial selection alone. To put it another way, if technologically, humanity was back in say the 1600's in all ways except artificial selection, I'd see it as having great potential for helping us with no risks due to its slow speed. But for where we are today, I unfortunately see it as equivalent to getting snails rearranging the deck chairs on the titanic. Terry's jaw, his wit and his being a lefty are examples of where we'd like to easily separate the good genes from the bad. Let's talk about anti-depressants for a moment. With virtually all anti-depressants and with most people the side effects limit the benefits. This is because the drugs are so crude it is like trying to do surgery with a machete. I see artificial selection versus gene editing as a similar comparison. With literally (tens of) thousands of diseases being genetically identified (and more being identified daily - as Mike agrees) along with hundreds if not thousands of features we wish to promote/discourage, playing with a few hundred embryos, it becomes impossible to select away most of the bad stuff without compromising the good stuff. With gene editing the precision should let Terry keep his wit but lose the underbite. He can even stay left handed ;-) Regarding ethics/morality, again I'm mostly in agreement with Mike. If we could suddenly ensure our kids would be born and live far more disease free, we'd pick it and whether fair or not, if you don't pick it for your kids, there will be hell to pay (from your kids) when they are suffering or dying from a totally preventable disease or serious flaws while their peers are doing incredibly well. Bizarre thought of the day, with the monkey's paw example, only AIs may have a reasonable chance at surviving, while humans won't. I try to first look at things based on truth and evidence instead of how I might want things to be. Bertrand Russell talks about this in a short two minute video: https://youtu.be/_3aPkzHpT8M When I'm saying AI's may be the only beings that can survive what is coming in this century, it isn't because I want it to be so, but because by honestly reflecting on what's coming I/we might make better decisions on what to research and how to proceed. At this moment I don't see a solution to the monkey's paw problem, but I'm working on it, which I wouldn't be if I wasn't more interested in truth than the way I want it to be. Regarding Terry's comment regarding how can we know which things are good/bad, e.g. autistic folks better at communicating with AIs that is a very valid concern. That means we should proceed carefully but I agree with Mike that proceed we should. By giving people a choice as to whether they want to use one of these IVF methods combined with offering a rich palate of permutations/offerings, we can hopefully maintain enough diversity to weather some unforeseen consequences. Regarding Terry's comment "Of course to Michaels earlier point I should NOT be permitted to request "super size me to Breeden size" please. My genes do not carry that sequence." Here I disagree. Today one can pick an egg donor and a sperm donor and have the kid of your dreams. I don't see sufficient benefit in limiting people via these newer methods, for example science just helped parents that required a 3rd person's DNA to succeed due to mitochondrial issue as I recall. I strongly disagree with: "Take Turing, an unquestioned genius and you do have to take into account he helped the war effort, but -he was not reproductive-. That is the ultimate judge, not human preconceptions. That applies to autism. If the person reproduces, that is the judge of superiority, nothing else." For a species to survive not every member should be judged solely on whether they reproduce. The vast majority of ants are worker ants and would be judged irrelevant based on your definition which obviously they aren't. Someone can assist the species in surviving via other means than reproduction. Someone with no kids who can negotiate peace with the AIs say due his autistic brain is more valuable than a stupid hick with nine kids in my opinion. Paul, doesn't trust people to make the right decisions as he sees them (on average) as idiots. ... Mike says "... I am interested in human survival, so what is important to me is those first 40 zygotes that are rejected.". Curious, Mike how do we deal we some of the Smart and ParentsNotSo Smart who don't want the first 40 weeded out, AKA they want to do everything as natural as possible? I would expect this to be a huge percentage of the population especially at first. I'd guess there are some on this email list that would opt-out. Mike says yes to "everyone does IVF?" How many years would you estimate before this is being done by a significant percentage of the population? Mind you I agree it is the only viable path I see at this point but this is yet another example of why this won't be having a significant effect anytime soon. Mike says "Change is a dangerous time. We must change and we must change a lot, but I want to minimize it. Just enough to make it to the New Ecology where we can slow down and adjust more." There is a time to be conservative, e.g. 1600's but today we are on the verge of extinction and I think your conservative bent is the polar opposite of what is needed for our specie's survival. You seem to imply that after a few iterations of artificial selection folks won't press the monkey paw. I don't see this. *** Terry Brent, Good reply, I agree most everywhere... which is a bit scary. Welcome back! ***Mike's reply Hi Brent, I hope you had a good vacation. Much of what you say is reasonable, but I think there are some important points you may be incorrect on. Your whole premise is that we are going to get wiped out by human made disease. The thing is that is easier said than done. Theoretically you just need to make some nasty disease, but in reality, it's harder than that. Some people survive. That is what genetic diversity is all about and just as there are reserves of genes in existing soil bacteria that can give resistance to antibiotics that have not been invented yet, there are disease immunities and responses that we know nothing about. Again, nature keeps throwing diseases at us and will continue to. The technology to fight diseases is progressing very fast and AIs are already drafted into the effort. Besides, what if it doesn't happen? It just seems another of your reason why machines should replace humans. Sorry, but it just does and I don't listen to people telling me the future in any case, so I'm just going to keep working for human survival. It seems better than standing still to me. There is an interesting point tightly related to this. I'll ask the same critical question of you. What is the name given to human survival instinct? Here's another place I have trouble with your views. You say --- the artificial selection approach could possibly have much effect on humanity overall and by then gene editing will have matured, i.e. better, faster and cheaper than it is now. Having said that, I have real doubts that gene editing can even help much but it has far more of a chance than artificial selection alone. --- You seem to just not get my point that the problem of genetic load is now. Not when gene editing is possible, but now when artificial selection is. You never get that point no matter how many times I make it. You do not hear inconvenient facts. I have to figure that you aren't concerned, because you aren't concerned with human survival, so I see a powerful bias and treat your opinions as such. ---pick an egg donor and a sperm donor--- Irrelevant. See survival instinct above. ---For a species to survive not every member should be judged solely on whether they reproduce. ---- I wish you had a deeper understanding of biology, but you are a technologist so I shouldn't complain. This is first year upper division biology. As for opting out, not only does it matter little, but since you don't seem to comprehend genetic load, you wouldn't understand this part either. --- How many years would you estimate before this is being done by a significant percentage of the population? --- Same answer... also it should be rather economical. ... Uhhh... are you familiar with Sociobiology? Terry got it from experience. ---I think your conservative bent is the polar opposite of what is needed for our specie's survival.--- Sorry, but I have to say your understanding of biology and evolution just doesn't show this to you, but I see deep principles why this is likely true and something that demands caution. ---You seem to imply that after a few iterations of artificial selection folks won't press the monkey paw. I don't see this.--- OK, don't but it is related to stuff I don't understand so well. I wouldn't expect you to. Brent, I watched the video of Bertrand Russel. He said to stick with the facts. You seem to ignore some and make up others. Changes we already made mean we need to start using artificial selection now. You ignore that and only focus on what gene editing can do in the future and disregard the fact of genetic load. You look at the Monkey's paw as fact... It's not. It is a danger as is the Yellowstone volcano, but if facts occurred that way, the San Andreas fault would already have gone ... north. Your other fact... about AI. You are sure, but there are others that are not so sure (I read a very interesting argument about the problem on Friday) and those that worry, such as Elon Musk are working to prevent the danger. You ignore all that and say your concerns about AI are a fact. I think Bertrand Russel would scoff at those being facts.Brent, no matter how much you insist, I don't believe you know the future and you don't even know the name of human survival instinct, which is critically important to this discussion. You also never answered another question I asked earlier and it is important. I don't recall the wording perfectly since it came from the beginning of this thread, but it was about where humans are going. It's a red herring that shows a lack of understanding. Your view and understanding are just as deeply flawed as your "facts". Brent, I study biology to understand how humans can survive and adapt to the future. I don't think you have a deep understanding of the subject I have tirelessly worked for decades on. I admit I am tiring, but I am not sure if it is from the long difficult process or listening to you repeat your same objections and then responding writing the same issues you ignore. Your argument is and always has been that humans are so flawed that we should replace them with machines. OK, I heard you, but I think it is incorrect. Life has always seemed unlikely to most people, but it still does persist. Enjoy, M